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A first-of-its-kind emergency evacuation drill using drone technology was performed by Nevada and California agencies. During the drill on the Nevada-California border just north of Lake Tahoe, the drone had two missions: Deliver medical supplies to an injured firefighter, and transmit live video of the scene while a helicopter was dispatched to fly hundreds of feet below the drone.
This was the first time commercial drones in the U.S. completed simultaneous operations in the same airspace as a helicopter with the common mission of saving lives and property, according to the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems NIAS.
The mission was a success, according to reviewjournal.com; the firefighter was airlifted to safety, and the drone returned to base after flying 23.4 miles in about an hour.
Autonomous unmanned vehicle provider Drone America led the drill with support from the NIAS and in partnership with more than 17 first responder agencies from Nevada and California.
“The Bi-State Evacuation Drill was a clear demonstration of how we can all work together, potentially saving lives and saving taxpayers dollars,” district fire chief Ryan Sommers said in a statement.